More than 500 flee growing Mt. Charleston wildfire
Smoke and flames rise from Mt. Charleston as the sun tries to shine through the haze on July 4, 2013. (FOX5)
MT. CHARLESTON, NV (FOX5) -
Hundreds of residents have fled a growing wildfire on Mt. Charleston that has been burning since Monday.
A lightning strike started the blaze in the Carpenter Canyon area on the western side of the mountain.
On Wednesday, the fire grew to about 1,100 acres, and voluntary evacuation orders were issued for some residents.
On Thursday, the fire raced across the mountain to the eastern slopes and grew to about 2,000 acres. Officials ordered the mandatory evacuations of the Kyle and Lee canyon areas. Roads leading into each of the canyons, State Route 156 and 157, were closed to traffic.
On Friday, a spokesperson for the U.S. Forest Service said the Carpenter 1 fire had grown to 9,031 acres. The Forest Service at a meeting Friday evening in Pahrump said the fire is probably closer to 10,000 acres. So far, about 520 residents have evacuated the area - most from Trout and Kyle canyons, according to the spokesperson.
FOX5 reporter Azenith Smith visited one of the two American Red Cross shelters set up for evacuees. A volunteer there said that about 10 people stayed in the shelter at James Bilbray Elementary School on the eastern side of the mountain Thursday night. The second shelter was located at Hafen Elementary School on the western side.
Bonnie Springs Ranch told FOX5 that they are offering free boarding for large animals, like horses or cattle, that may be in the path of the blaze. Owners who are evacuating should call 702-875-4400 for more information.
Henderson Saddle Association said it has room to house up to 30 horses as well as cattle. For more information, call 702-308-5186.
The thick smoke rising from the blaze, combined with smoke from Independence Day fireworks, prompted the Clark County Air Quality Department to issue an air quality alert for Friday.
So far, there is no containment on the fire, according to officials.
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